Innovations in Surgery

The first sterile surgical procedureSterile surgical procedures were innovated at Johns Hopkins

History of surgery at Hopkins

At Johns Hopkins, thinking beyond conventional wisdom is the conventional wisdom. It's an outlook that has been ingrained from the beginning, when Johns Hopkins' first surgeon-in-chief, William Halsted, M.D., laid the foundation for surgery in the United States as we know it.

Dr. Halsted was dedicated to skill and technique and made many revolutionary contributions to the field of surgery, including pioneering the first lifesaving surgical treatment for breast cancer and developing new operations for intestinal and stomach diseases, gallstone removal, hernia repair and disorders of the thyroid gland.

Following in Dr. Halsted's footsteps, Hopkins surgeons:

  • Launched the specialty of neurosurgery
  • Proved that operating on the heart was even possible
  • Became the first to separate twins joined at the head
  • Implanted the first defibrillator in a human heart

Tradition continues today

In more recent years, Johns Hopkins surgeons have continued the institution's long tradition of surgical advancements.  A few examples: